Arts to Sow Seeds | 2010 to 2018 | Walking a Line to John Muir Artist
North Light Arts have had the privileged to work with hundreds of amazing artists whose creative practices have in turn engaged with thousands of people. Each has used their unique processes to promote a sense of our place in the world, and talk about our need to be more aware of our environment the impacts, and of global warming.
Projects such as NorthLight and Walking a Line used short residencies for a large number of artists. Working from the Beach hut on Victoria Harbour, each emerging artists generated a sense of place while developing their own practice. Some artists were to develop their environmental arts through further opportunities including the late Emma Herman-Smith who undertook a short residency in 2014, which included bringing a huge dragon boat that arrived in the harbour on a huge low loader, and later a really successful exhibition at Dunbar Town House Gallery.
Hannah Imlach did a short Beach hut Residency on her graduation and later became a regular contributor producing a beautifully sculptured site-specific work for the Fertile Ground Conference and returning for the exhibition Floers in collaboration with Alec Finlay. This was the second of our John Muir Residencies and sought to explore a sense of landscape, in the past and in a future, grappling with adaptations in nature due to climate change. At the Festival Floers, along with Alec Finlay we walked to soak up the landscape; to listen to Alec’s poetry, Colin Will and also Hanna Tuulaniki’s hauntingly lyrical soundscape. We arrived at the beach where, together with poetry by Lila Matsuoto, experienced the site-specific installation of Hannah Imlach’s sculpture Dune Cradle: This beautifully crafted piece was later installed in the Town House Gallery, containing dune plants from the beach, which, as they shrivelled mirrored the impeding issue of global warming..
In Katy Beckett’s residency Garden Lane, which develop the ravelling Plant Menagerie and helped to develop the Backlands Garden Community Garden in collaboration with The Ridge. This renovated market garden shows the community how nature is reliant on us and how we are reliant on nature for the food we eat. Inproject ‘Soil’ in 2014, the connection to the land and the community helped to create works tha Natalie Taylor’s were inspired by and made from their location. Natalie worked closely with people in local organic market gardens and also the community gardens, her focus on local soils led her to create a major work for her exhibition. In the form of a mandala she perfectly illustrated our circular relationship the soil from with the smallest microbe all the way up to the supermarkets, – the delicate painting made in watercolour that was made from local soils.
Dalziel+Scullion In 2018 we were so pleased to welcome as artists in residence the established artists Dalziel+Scullion. They walked the John Muir Way and engaged with some of our really helpful local experts in the development of their well received exhibition Homing. This was to be an extremely personal exhibition where they used the opportunity to explore their own relationship to the arts and the environment and how they wish to work in the future.
The exhibition was made all the more personal with displays of their own special collections of natural finds, which visitors found fascinating, and a number of local people took part in their trademark photography providing a real sense of engagement with the community. To symbolise the heavy hand of man on the landscape of East Lothian they worked with a craft-maker who helped them design a corn dolly in the shape of a hand, speaking of the land it came from.
Keen to have as little impact on the environment as possible, the outcome of their residency was to be the launch of their book HOMING. This beautiful book explores how we experience the environment and seeks to bridge the disconnect and de-sensitisation to nature, that is sadly a consequence our of modern way of life.
HOMING in on Homing an essay by Euan McArthur
HOMING and Environmental Arts an essay by Ruth Bretheric
John Muir Open | Matthew Dalziel kindly wrote the introduction to our exhibition TIDE:Dialogues of Change which invited artists to submit works for the John Muir Open 2019. This new opportunity once again encouraging eleven emerging environmental artists to develop their practice by exhibiting at Dunbar Town House Gallery, along the cliff top, a church hall, and a short residency at West Barns Arts. Works included: painting, books, poetry, sound, sculpture and contemporary dance.
Jenny Pope was chosen as our selected artists to produce works which, in her unique style, were inspired by place.